COUNCIL bosses have been accused of lacking ambition on promises to boost electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Barnsley.
Research, revealed at yesterday’s full council meeting by the Liberal Democrats, suggested Ubitricity - a subsidiary of Shell - has offered all councils within South Yorkshire a ‘large number’ of on-street charge points for electric vehicles.
Other councils within South Yorkshire have accepted the offer and worked with Ubitricity, but Barnsley decided to not accept this, ‘lagging behind their peers’, according to Lib Dem Coun Hannah Kitching.
Coun Kitching, who asked a question at the meeting about on-street charging, said: “I have been contacted by residents across the borough who would like to play their part in tackling climate change by investing in an electric vehicle.
“They are essentially prohibited from doing so by the fact they do not have off-street parking.
“On-street electric vehicle charging points are an innovative solution to this problem, and pilot schemes have been used successfully by other local authorities.
“These points would come at no cost to the council, the maintenance would be covered by Ubitricity, and the electricity cost would also be covered by Ubitricity.
“The placement of these charging points would also be decided by the council, only advised by Ubitricity, so the council would also retain ownership of the street lights themselves.
“It is an offer that has been taken up by other South Yorkshire councils and is still on the table, but it expires at the end of 2022.”
The council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 - a multi-faceted project aimed at reducing both its and residents’ carbon emissions over the next 20 years.
A key part of the scheme is a move towards electric vehicles, but the amount of charging points available to those wishing to ditch petrol and diesel-powered cars has been criticised.
A ‘reluctance’ to take up Ubiticity’s project - which has seen street lights double up as charging points for EVs - should be re-thought, according to Coun Chris Wray.
“I hope the council will work with Ubitricity to take up this offer.
“We have our 2040 and 2045 targets, but the council has promised to do anything it can to achieve these targets sooner and this would help them with that promise.
“The reality is that if we don’t start and take what we can now, we will have to catch up in the future.
“We’ve fallen behind in other matters, so we need to ensure we don’t do the same here - it will only cost us more in the future.”